Start com­post­ing and cut your food waste

There are lots of ways to com­post your food scraps, says

Central Otago Mirror - - FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Richard Lee is Auck­land Coun­cil’s WasteWise ad­viser.

In case you hadn’t heard, com­post­ing is back in vogue.

Savvy com­posters can dra­mat­i­cally cut the amount of house­hold waste they throw away and cre­ate a healthy, nat­u­ral fer­tiliser for their gar­dens.

In fact, 50 per cent of house­hold rub­bish is or­ganic waste such as food scraps and gar­den waste, so com­post­ing is a great way to keep waste out of the land­fill.

Along with the typ­i­cal items that can be com­posted there are some sur­pris­ing house­hold things that can be added. These in­clude old herbs and spices, the con­tents of your vac­uum cleaner bag if you have wool car­pet (but not the Lego pieces!) and matches, tooth­picks and bam­boo skew­ers.

When it comes to clear­ing postBBQ or party left­overs, you can use the com­post to dis­pose of Cham­pagne and wine corks as well as stale wine and beer. Even the odd bal­loon will break down, as long as it’s la­tex and not foil.

Hair – hu­man or pet – is an­other thing that goes well in com­post, so gather up the trim­mings from elec­tric ra­zors and home hair­cuts, along with the hair that col­lects in hair­brushes. While you’re at it, dryer lint and the dust bun­nies that col­lect un­der the fridge can also be com­posted.

But com­post­ing is so smelly, right? Wrong! If you’re look­ing for an easy, non-stinky way to man­age your food scraps, Bokashi may be the an­swer. De­vel­oped in Ja­pan, Bokashi can be trans­lated as ‘‘fer­mented or­ganic mat­ter’’. Food waste is added to an air­tight bucket with an in­oc­u­lant (which looks like saw­dust) con­tain­ing ben­e­fi­cial mi­cro-or­gan­isms. This pre­serves the food waste like a pickle and pre­vents odours, while help­ing it to break down quickly once it is added to com­post or soil.

The Bokashi sys­tem is made up of two buck­ets which fit tightly in­side each other – per­fect for peo­ple who want to com­post but don’t have much space. The top bucket has holes in the bot­tom of it. Ev­ery time you put the food into this bucket add a ta­ble­spoon of in­oc­u­lant and squash it all down. A small amount of liq­uid will drain into the bot­tom bucket, which can be used as an ex­cel­lent fer­tiliser.

The smell is in­of­fen­sive and the buck­ets are air-tight, so Bokashi buck­ets can be kept in­doors. It keeps food waste out of the land­fill and im­proves help­ful mi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity in the soil. Food scraps that can’t be com­posted us­ing reg­u­lar meth­ods like fish and meat, cooked foods, bread, pasta and rice, cheese, eggs and odor­ous food waste can be pro­cessed with Bokashi, and once it’s dug into the soil or added to your com­post it helps your food waste break down rapidly re­leas­ing the nu­tri­ents within 2-4 weeks.

If you like the idea of us­ing Bokashi to take care of your food scraps but don’t have a gar­den, head to Neigh­bourly and see if any­one in your com­mu­nity is keen to take your Bokashi pick­les for their gar­den. For more in­for­ma­tion on com­post­ing and Bokashi – in­clud­ing free events – visit your lo­cal coun­cil web­site.

EVA BRADLEY

The Bokashi sys­tem is made up of two buck­ets which fit tightly in­side each other.

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